Senior linebacker Hunter Reese applies pressure to Spain Park quarterback Mickey Forrest. Photo by Kevin Taylor
Senior linebacker Hunter Reese applies pressure to Spain Park quarterback Mickey Forrest. Photo by Kevin Taylor

No vacancy: Offenses finding little room in Indians’ defense

Published 5:12pm Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Although Wetumpka has been handed losses from Prattville and Spain Park the last two weeks, the Indians defense has kept both teams offensive weapons in check.
Last Friday, the Tribe held Spain Park’s senior tailback Otis Harris to single-digit rush yards for the game. The week prior, before breaking a long run late in the fourth quarter, Prattville running back and Auburn University commit Kamryn Pettway struggled to find running room.
Wetumpka head coach Tim Perry lauded his defense on Tuesday.
“I’m proud of the way our defense has played all season,” he said. “When you consider, including our (jamboree) against Jeff Davis, we had three straight games only giving up one score. Anytime you’re playing at that level, holding the opponents that we play to one touchdown, then you’re playing well.”
While rival Prattville and Spain Park scored 28 and 24 points respectively against the Indians, Perry said the defense’s performance has been just as strong in those games, as it was in the first two weeks of the season.
The difference, he said, has been giving up big plays.
“There’s been a couple of occasions where our opponents have taken the ball and sustained drives that ended with scores,” said Perry. “But for the most part, the last two weeks, it’s been big plays that have shorten the field for the offense. So, we’re addressing that and we are working very hard to try to cut down on the giving up big plays. Anytime you give an offense third-and-12, third-and-15, that’s to your advantage. Unfortunately on a couple of occasions the last two weeks, we’ve gotten our opponents in those situation but yet they’ve converted. Our players are aware of that. But we’re very proud, overall, about the way we’re playing.”
Perry said that is hasn’t been just one or a few guys leading the charge, but everyone on defense that’s been playing well. To keep the likes of Pettway and Harris in check, it’s taken a team effort.
And the Tribe will need another strong, collective performance this week, as they travel Friday night to play the Homewood Patriots.
Led by returning senior running back Walter Rutledge, the non-region Class 5A foe proposes a tough challenge, Perry said.
“They have a great combination of size, speed and athleticism. Their running back, Rutledge had a very good night against us last year, so we are very concerned about him. We’ve got to be able to contain him as much as possible. He led their team in rushing and scoring last year. He runs behind his pads well, tough to bring down. They’re going to make sure they get him the ball.”
In the meeting at Hohenberg Stadium last season, Rutledge, behind departed senior tailback Justin Hardy, gained 73 yards and added a touchdown.
Wetumpka’s defense has been consistent so far in 2013 and the team will need another solid outing from all 11 guys to have the best chance of success, Perry said.
“We got to keep doing the things that we’re doing. We can’t afford to relax,” he said. “Just because this is a non-region game, this is our next opponent. We keep challenging our defense to keep getting better and better.
“There are things, like big plays, that we need to work on and eliminate. We want to try to be as complete a defense as possible. So there’s plenty to work on. Bottom line, we are playing well defensively, but that hasn’t converted to wins the last two weeks so we’ve got a lot to work for. We want to get back on track. We want to get back on the winning side of things.”
The Indians travel to Homewood Friday.

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